Interpol police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Samantha Lewthwaite, a 29-year old mother and Muslim convert from Britain dubbed the "white widow" after her husband, Jermaine Lindsay, one of the suicide bombers in the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks detonated on the London Subway system.
Kenyan police say Lewthwaite has been linked to al-Shabab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate based in Somalia, and is wanted on terrorism related charges stemming from an incident in 2011.
Kenyan authorities deny that Lewthwaite is wanted in connection to Saturday's deadly attack that killed least 72 people and destroyed part of the upscale shopping mall in Nairobi. However, several eye-witnesses to the terrorist attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi said a white woman was among the terrorists.
The Interpol “Red Notice” is a global arrest warrant states that Samantha Lewthwaite is wanted by Kenya on charges of being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to December, 2011.
A red notice means that "all 190 member countries are aware of the danger posed by this woman, not just across the region but also worldwide," Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said in a statement.
In an audio recording posted on Al-Shabab's webstite, Ahmed Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu al-Zubayr, said on Thursday that the attack on the Nairobi shopping mall was in retaliation for Kenya's incursion in October 2011 into southern Somalia to crush the insurgents.
"Take your troops out or prepare for a long-lasting war, blood, destruction and evacuation," Godane said.
Muslim extremist terrorist groups have long been considered a boys only club. Several top leaders of al-Qaeda have expressed negative views of women as al-Qaeda members. Osama bin-Laden's right hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri has previously said that women belong at home taking care of children.
Samantha Lewthwaite, described as a shy British girl represents the changing face of global terrorism. Young Westerners, mostly males, including many American citizens have been recruited by terrorist organizations using Internet social networking. Female recruits, usually on suicide missions have been dubbed "she-hadists"
The United States Department of Homeland Security and the FBI say al-Shabab has successfully recruited more Americans than any other terrorist organization to date. A U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security report in 2011 found at least 40 Americans have joined al-Shabaab.
In 2011, two women from Minnesota were convicted of conspiracy to funnel money to al-Shabab in Somolia, as part of what prosecutors called a “deadly pipeline” sending money and fighters from the U.S. to the group.
Al-Shabab identified three of the group's members involved in Saturday's deadly attack on the Westgate shopping mall as Americans from Minnesota and Missouri. However, al-Shabab denies any women terrorists were involved in the Nairobi mall attack.